Getting started with orthodontics begins with a phone call or visit to our office to schedule a preliminary appointment.
Your first visit will include a thorough examination along with an evaluation to determine your orthodontic needs and if braces will be beneficial for you at this time. The appointment should take from 45 to 60 minutes and allow enough time for you to ask questions about the procedure. The orthodontist will evaluate your concerns, focusing on oral musculatures, oral health, developmental patterns, appearance, fit, facial harmony and the ideal results you hope to achieve.
To design an effective treatment plan, the orthodontist will create diagnostic records to provide the information necessary for defining the problem and ensuring the absence of pathology. Orthodontic records include panoramic and cephalometric X-rays along with digital photographs of your teeth and face.
A staff member or the orthodontist will explain your problem and discuss treatment options as well as your financial obligation. A parent or someone with legal responsibility must accompany a patient under the age of 18. The orthodontist or an assistant will give you a treatment-consent form and an information sheet listing the estimated fees and approximate cost of your treatment along with your available payment options.
After reviewing the consent form and the financial contract, you will need to sign them before treatment commences. The fees are for your orthodontic treatment only and do not include dental checkups, cleanings or other treatments performed by your regular family dentist. Your dentist or dental assistant must examine and clean your teeth and complete any needed cavity restorations before your orthodontist takes impressions and begins your treatments. You must continue visiting your regular dentist for normal dental cleanings and checkups while you are receiving orthodontic treatment.
You will learn about the clinical procedures involved in the treatment and your personal responsibilities like oral hygiene and wearing headgear and elastic wear. You should keep your gums and teeth healthy and clean throughout your treatment and properly care for your braces as well. The orthodontist or a clinician will give you specific instructions about the appropriate care for your appliances.
If you have initiated a payment plan, your orthodontist may begin treatment at this time.
An orthodontic clinician will make models of your teeth for study and will store the record of the models digitally for viewing on a computer at any time.
Placing the Braces
Placing braces on your teeth usually takes from 30 to 60 minutes. Your orthodontist normally positions each bracket on both the upper and lower teeth at the same time but may choose to apply the appliances to only one jaw at a time.
You will normally have periodic orthodontic checkups every month or every two months throughout your period of orthodontic treatment. Adjustments of your braces may be necessary during the checkups to keep the straightening process progressing on schedule. It is important that you keep all appointments to avoid possible unfavorable consequences that may make it necessary to prolong treatment.
Removing the Braces
It takes about 30 minutes to remove your braces, and the process is surprisingly comfortable and simple. You will receive a set of retainers that will help keep your teeth in their correct positions, and the orthodontist will determine which retainers will best fulfill that function. The doctor will advise you about the proper procedure for wearing the retainers to keep your teeth straight. Your final orthodontic record will include a photo of your straightened teeth that you can compare with the photo taken before treatment began.
After removal of your braces, you should make an appointment with your dentist for a checkup, thorough cleaning and fluoride treatment.